First Time Client Troubles- Help!

Business By puddles_gal Updated 12 Jul 2015 , 10:57pm by -K8memphis

puddles_gal Posted 12 Jul 2015 , 3:47pm
post #1 of 11

I need some advice asap! I had a bride sign a contract for her cake and pay a 50% deposit. The remaining half was due June 25th, and her wedding is in 2 weeks. June 25th came and went, and I did not receive the final payment. She did not provide me with a phone number, so I emailed her a few times, even giving her a second chance to pay, and never heard anything back. I hadn't heard from her since the beginning of June. My contract clearly states that if the final payment isn't submitted on time, the order would be cancelled and the 50% deposit is non-refundable. So I sent her a final notice of cancellation. 

  Well, now I get both an email and a phone call from her today, and she says she is freaking out and she is behind on everything, and wants to pay for the cake,  and wonders if it is too late? 

 I've never had this happen before in all my years of baking, and I feel like I need to stand beside my decision to cancel due to the lack of communication alone. I obviously need to respond to her and want to do it through email so it's in writing, so what do I say to keep it professional, yet to get my point across? 

10 replies
AAtKT Posted 12 Jul 2015 , 4:01pm
post #2 of 11


You could require cash by end of business tomorrow and tack on a late fee (pita fee) if you still have time for the wedding and haven't re-booked the day.  

You can even state that you don't usually do this, but this one time you will.

It can make you look like the good guy in the situation.

But make the late fee worth the hassle.


Pastrybaglady Posted 12 Jul 2015 , 4:07pm
post #3 of 11

It's your business and you are entitled per your contract to do what you wish.  If you don't want to do the cake send an e-mail empathizing with her dilemna but that you gave her many chances to make the final transaction and that because you cancelled her order you took on other work and are now booked.  However, if you need that other 50% and are not booked and she will come with money in hand TODAY go ahead and do it.  Do what is best for your business!

jchuck Posted 12 Jul 2015 , 4:20pm
post #4 of 11

This is a tough call. I'm just a hobby baker, but do make the occasional paid cake/cupcakes under certain circumstances. I received a email  June 24th, from a close friend of my sons fiancé asking me to make cupcakes for her wedding. Replied with my terms...deposit etc. Never heard a word.  Just got a reply Friday, with an apology stating a family member is now doing them for her.  The point I'm trying to make, is that I find out from my sons fiancé that between working full time, moving into a new home, and planning the wedding, the poor bride hadn't had a chance to  hardly anything, let alone, check her emails. She was running around like a chicken with its head cut off!! Normally I would have been perturbed, but when I realized the circumstances....well you get the picture. If this bride is truly sorry and apologetic, and wants to bring you the rest of the $$$$ asap, I'd be inclined to do it. I hope you won't be offended, but as part of your contract you should ALWAYS have a contact phone number. If you had you could have called the bride and with a gentle reminder her  $$$ was due. Emails can be missed, not received, not looked at, Internet trouble, etc. And, if you needed info, ran into any kind of problem, how could you get an answer quickly? Certainly not by email. Email has its place, but having a phone number to me is essential. But this is my opinion, and in the end, the decision is totally up to you. No one else has to know you kinda bent your "rules". Each customer is a individual decision. 

puddles_gal Posted 12 Jul 2015 , 4:33pm
post #5 of 11

You all have definitely given me some food for thought, and thank you! Jchuck- no offence taken at all! There is a space on my contract for clients to put their phone numbers, and she did not fill it out, so I could only work with what I had, which was her email address. I agree that things can go wrong with email/the Internet,  but she obviously wasn't checking them, and she stated in her phone message that she had forgot about the cake and then later checked her email and saw my cancellation notice.  In the mean time, she was sent 3 friendly reminders to pay the final balance, so I believe I did my part. I feel it's the client's responsibility to pay on time and I shouldn't have to try to track them down- she had all of my contact information, so if there was a problem with her email, she could have called me. I cannot be held accountable for her level of disorganization. I'm currently drafting up my response right now. 

jchuck Posted 12 Jul 2015 , 4:50pm
post #6 of 11

Yes agreed. Like I said, I'm not in business. I certainly see your point, if you're a busy decorator, you don't have time to check or run after every order. But stating she "forgot" about the cake. Not sure how to take that. Busyness, stupidity?? Sometimes, you have to make a stand. I'm sure you have other orders, just as important.

My daughter almost had egg on her face at her wedding. Insisted she didn't need any help with organization, payments...follow up, etc. Morning of, flowers get delivered, there's NO boutonnières for Mom/Mom-in-law of bride, Grandma's!! Florists had called several times to talk about final contract...and sent her emails.. Daughter didn't follow up. Very, VERY fortunate for us, they felt badly cause my daughter clearly screwed up...didn't want us to be without our boutonnières. They quickly made some, and my husband was dispatched to pick them up. But in the end, they had every right to say....sorry, you're mistake. 

-K8memphis Posted 12 Jul 2015 , 7:35pm
post #7 of 11

when is the wedding -- I would do it if it was me -- reason being it's better to spread good energy -- like you said it's never happened to you before -- typically it's a rare occurrence  -- only happened to me once in all my years of caking -- 

I had my terms set up where I would collect afterwards if it ever came to that -- i never wanted to huff and puff and blow someone's cake/wedding down -- it was a crushing decision at the time and the peace I got when i green lighted it was worth it

personal choice to be sure -- but that's how i operated -- part of this is making other people's memories and not that we give our stuff away but if you can do the cake you should -- why not esp if you get the cash

puddles_gal Posted 12 Jul 2015 , 8:02pm
post #8 of 11

It was a very tough choice to make, but I stuck by my original decision and let her know that the order would remain cancelled. On a personal level, it sucks, and as a person usually guided by her emotions, I would lose sleep over this and feel absolutely terrible. Even the thought of cancelling initially made me feel nauseous. However, I chose to handle the matter from a business stand point, and the fact is that there was no communication on her end for almost a month and a half, and there was a breach of contract, so at some point a decision had to be made. I certainly wasn't going to go through the trouble of making flowers ahead of time, ordering a bucket of fondant, turning down other potential orders, etc, all for something that wouldn't possibly get paid for in the end. 

  Thank you everyone for your advice and sharing your similar experiences- I certainly do appreciate it, and it's nice to know we are not alone when it comes to these things! 

Apti Posted 12 Jul 2015 , 8:12pm
post #9 of 11


Quote by @puddles_gal on 4 hours ago

I need some advice asap! I had a bride sign a contract for her cake and pay a 50% deposit. The remaining half was due June 25th, and her wedding is in 2 weeks. June 25th came and went, and I did not receive the final payment. She did not provide me with a phone number, so I emailed her a few times, even giving her a second chance to pay, and never heard anything back. I hadn't heard from her since the beginning of June. My contract clearly states that if the final payment isn't submitted on time, the order would be cancelled and the 50% deposit is non-refundable. So I sent her a final notice of cancellation. 

  Well, now I get both an email and a phone call from her today, and she says she is freaking out and she is behind on everything, and wants to pay for the cake,  and wonders if it is too late? 

 I've never had this happen before in all my years of baking, and I feel like I need to stand beside my decision to cancel due to the lack of communication alone. I obviously need to respond to her and want to do it through email so it's in writing, so what do I say to keep it professional, yet to get my point across? 

IF the date is still open and you will not incur any extra problems.

IF the client gets the remaining 50% to you by 5 pm today [or tomorrow, July 14, 2015 because today is a Sunday and banks are closed], in cash or money order or cashier's check, NO personal checks.

IF you still wish to do the cake

Send this response:

"The contract states that if the remaining 50% ($xxxx) is not paid by June 26, 2015, the 50% deposit which was paid to hold the date of ________ is non-refundable, and the order is cancelled.    However, since this date has not been filled by another customer as yet, you will be able to receive the cake requested on the contract if you can deliver the remaining 50% ($xxxx) in cash or money order no later than 5 pm today, June 13, 2015  [or tomorrow's date, July 14, 2015 since today is a Sunday and banks are closed].

If you are able to pay the remainder as stipulated above and wish to order the cake, you must reply by both email and a telephone call to this number: (xxx) xxx-xxxx, no later than 5 pm today, July 13, 2015, and make an appointment to deliver the payment.

Signed:  (your business name)
* * * * * * *

IF you don't want to make the cake or if the date is filled:

"The contract states that if the remaining 50% ($xxxx) is not paid by June 26, 2015, the 50% deposit which was paid to hold the date of _____ is non-refundable, and the order is cancelled."  [INSERT THE SPECIFIC TERMS OF THE SIGNED CONTRACT HERE]

Notifications of cancellation were made to the email address provided on the contract on ____date, ______date, and _____date. 

The date reserved on the contract, __________date, has been filled.

Signed:  (your business name)

"The contract states that if the remaining 50% ($xxxx) is not paid by June 26, 2015, the 50% deposit which was paid to hold the date of ________ is non-refundable, and the order is cancelled.
Read more at http://www.cakecentral.com/forum/t/823566/first-time-client-troubles-help#post_7629895#JtIjjU059QMFyIbQ.99
"The contract states that if the remaining 50% ($xxxx) is not paid by June 26, 2015, the 50% deposit which was paid to hold the date of ________ is non-refundable, and the order is cancelled. 
Read more at http://www.cakecentral.com/forum/t/823566/first-time-client-troubles-help#post_7629895#JtIjjU059QMFyIbQ.99

costumeczar Posted 12 Jul 2015 , 9:38pm
post #10 of 11

Make sure to amend your contract to make sure there's something about late fees in the off chance that this happens again with late payments in the future! Then if you do decide to do the cake you can charge a late fee to go along with the balance due.

I'm sure the decision to cancel was difficult but if there was no communication from her you did the right thing for your business.

-K8memphis Posted 12 Jul 2015 , 10:57pm
post #11 of 11

i don't see how this helps your business and if it makes you feel sick how is that good -- if the wedding is in 2 weeks you can handily get this rescheduled for both of you --

because if it was me I'd want my money back and I'd contact you for it (hassle) regardless of the contract --

there's the right of the last clear chance and you have a clear chance to write a happy ending IF she coughs up the cash asap



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